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Haryana

Khemka writes to CJI on no nod to represent case in SC

July 02, 2020 08:14 AM

COURTESY TOI JULY 2

Khemka writes to CJI on no nod to represent case in SC
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

Upset over the Supreme Court’s registry branch refusing to accept his reply in ‘propria persona’ (filed in-person) in the apex court, senior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka has written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde that such a denial suggests “an unkind predisposition towards the intellect and temperance of fellow humans.”


He has urged the CJI to either make necessary amendments in the rules or pass an administrative order so that he can represent himself in the matter.

Any restriction placed upon an individual to represent his own case before a court of law, by placing burden upon him to demonstrate his ability and candor, is “an impediment upon his natural right of self-defence,” according to the bureaucrat.

Submitting that blanket presumption under Order IV Rule 1 of Supreme Court Rules encompassing senior public officials as not being competent to argue in propria persona is “logically absurb,” Khemka said public officials are highly qualified and are subject to rigorous discipline mechanisms under their relevant service rules.

“Once such public officials are presumed to be competent for the nation’s administration and held accountable for executing the orders of the court, then they must necessarily be presumed capable of assisting the court in their own cases,” Khemka submitted to the CJI and requested him to consider amendments to the SC Rules 2013 or issue necessary clarifications on the administrative side.

The matter pertains to a case related to Khemka’s annual confidential report (ACR) in which the Haryana government had filed an appeal before the SC against an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana high court in Khemka’s favour.

The Haryana government has engaged the solicitor-general of India as the lead counsel in the case and Khemka wants to represent himself. The SC registry, however, refused to allow him to represent himself in person and told Khemka that they can accept a reply from him only through an advocate-on-record (AOR) of the SC.

Khemka had to engage an advocate on record to file his reply and marked his appearance before the SC registrar on August 30, 2019 or the matter would have proceeded ex-parte against him.

Thereafter, Khemka submitted a representation to the SC (on administrative side) requesting to allow him to argue his case in person. The request was turned down by the registry branch on March 18.

Aggrieved from this, Khemka had approached the Punjab and Haryana high court challenging the rules of the SC registry branch. Hearing his plea, the HC gave liberty to Khemka to approach the appropriate authority.

In a recent tweet, Khemka shared photograph of CJI Bobde sitting on a motorcycle in Nagpur, which was already going viral, stating, “If CJI can work from Nagpur, why not establish benches of Supreme Court in few state capitals. Ordinary citizens must have easy access to the apex court as well as the service of local lawyers. Delhi is far and relatively expensive for most

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